International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD)

The International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD) is a network of organizations that may be local, national or international in scope, but that all recognize the need to promote cultural diversity and maintain the ability of sovereign nations to support their cultures in the face of globalization.

The second annual INCD conference, held in Lucerne, Switzerland, 21-23 September 2001, gathered artists and their organizations from 33 countries who discussed some broad topics like culture as an antidote to globalization, to the specifics of how to structure an international cultural treaty. A special session was dedicated to the role of existing international organizations such as UNESCO, WTO or INCP (The International Network for Cultural Policy, an informal network of ministers of culture) in building a new international instrument for cultural diversity. At the end of the conference, the participants issued a final declaration, which was delivered to a parallel meeting of the ministers of culture network and which called on national governments to resist making any trade commitments which would have any impact on culture.

At the moment, the INCD has members in 52 countries. The aim of the Network is to take the principles adopted at the Lucerne Conference and discuss the development of a draft of a new treaty that can be debated at the local, regional and national levels. The INCD will continue expanding the dialogue and building a civil society movement that will help mobilize artists and cultural communities for this campaign.

It is important to mention that on 2 November 2001 UNESCO’s General Conference adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (See pp. 25-31 in this issue.), a text for which the Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura expressed hope that it can “one day acquire as much force as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. At the Lucerne Conference, the participants expressed their interest to work closely with UNESCO and with other international organisations concerned with the issue of cultural diversity.

By including selected texts in the Dossier, the Culturelink Network of Networks for Research and Cooperation in Cultural Development wishes to contribute to one of the goals of the INCD, which is to promote the idea of building a Global Cultural Pact and to raise awareness about these issues internationally.